By Jo Cooksey
A couple of weeks ago we were invited to Malmaison in Piccadilly, Manchester, to sample the delights of their new Chez Mal Brasserie menus. Always a pleasure. Chez Mal Brasserie take their food very seriously and utilize all their passion and skill and of course top class, seasonal ingredients, to give the diner the best experience possible. They also offer a choice of menus to satisfy their customers’ needs. There is the Prix Fixe, available Monday to Thursday daily and Friday and Saturday until 7pm, with two courses for £19.95 and three courses for £24.95, as well as the a la carte, the afternoon tea and the Sunday brunch and lunch options.
We were greeted with Chez Mal’s signature cocktail and after a little networking and catching up were seated and the starters began to arrive. Sometimes when you go to a menu tasting, the highlights are served canapé style and you have to stop off at the chippy on the way home because you’re still hungry. This was obviously not going to be one of those evenings. Each dish was supplied as a sharing plate and there were a lot of plates. I should also mention that each course was being matched with wines and beers. Why am I always driving?
The starters included Prawn Cocktail Lettuce Tacos. Big juicy prawns with avocado, lime salsa, served in Little Gem leaves with a chipotle spiced ketchup that added a great punch. Next, Pan Fried Scallops, with red pepper puree, black olive tapenade, samphire and sauce vierge. The scallops were perfectly cooked, sweet and succulent and it was nice to see a tapenade again. I don’t think I have been served one since the noughties but it was very welcome.
Next up was a Sticky BBQ Rack of Ribs served with pickled veg. The meat was beautifully tender but for me there wasn’t enough sauce. I’m also not sure what the pickled veg added to the dish. I adored the following two dishes, Seared Soy Glazed Salmon and a Summer Stew of Grilled Merguez Sausages and Cannellini Beans. The salmon was served with a beautiful Hot & Sour Asian salad. I could eat this all day long. The stew was perfect Summer comfort food, with the spiciness of the sausages and the creaminess of the slow cooked beans.
Now it time for the meat courses. Chez Mal has a specialist Josper grill, which gives a perfect smoky edge to the flavour of any meat cooked on it. Case in point being the burgers and steaks that came next. Malmaison age their beef in-house, in a purpose-built room lined with Himalayan salt. This adds an incredible depth of flavour to the meat. First up were the burgers, served as slider size for our purposes. The patties were juicy and full of flavour and teamed with very fresh salad and their own burger relish. No dirty burgers here which for me is perfect. A burger as it should be. The ribeye steak that came was a joy. Seared on the Josper, served with crispy skin in chips and oh so tender and flavoursome. Definitely worth trying if you are a fan of red meat.
We were well and truly stuffed by this point but then dessert appeared. Deep breath, a little loosening of the waistband and off we go. The staff had brought us the cakes that they serve as part of Chez Mal’s Afternoon Tea. I couldn’t eat anything else so was actually quite thankfully that they also gave us a take home cake box, containing a scone, a little pot of raspberry jam and a gorgeous individual Bakewell Tart. My favourites and they went down very well the following evening with a cup of tea.
Chez Mal is definitely worth a visit and its close proximity to Piccadilly Station is also very handy. We have visited as guests of the hotel but also under our own steam because we enjoy it so much.
We attended the showcase as guests of Malmaison but as always, the review and opinions are our own and unbiased.